Identity crisis

“All of me…
Why not take all of me?
Can’t you see?
I’m no good without you.
Take my lips…
I want to lose them!
Take my arms
I’ll never use them!”

I’ve always loved this song.  Best of all when Lily Tomlin sings it in the movie.  I like it as much as when Tony Bennett croons “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”  I guess I’ve always enjoyed the idea of parts of me being lost to passion.

But somehow the passion of greed doesn’t enter into that fantasy.  Like, say, losing my identity to the lowest kind of white collar criminal.

My husband and I are enrolled in the local Citizen’s Police Academy, which has been quite fascinating.  Especially when you get to wander around the evidence room and peek in the prisoner toilet (don’t worry, no one was making use of it at the time.)

Our lecturer yesterday evening was in charge of the Investigations Department, and during his talk he highly recommended that everyone have identity theft insurance.  This got my drawers in a twist, but I managed to shrug it off and focus on his presentation which covered the number of violent crimes committed in our community last year and how one might go about solving them.  

FYI- if you need to bludgeon someone to death but are unable to procure yourself some gloves, use a bumpy rock as the police will be unable to lift your fingerprints off of it.

On the way home though, the thing that sprang to my mind was not the crime scene photo of a decaying corpse but my irritation at the suggestion of identity insurance.  I still cannot precisely articulate my emotional position (my intellectual position is something along the lines of: “Sigh.  What else.”) but I realize that I am getting closer to complete awareness of where I stand on this important issue.

It goes something like, “You have to be f&%#ing kidding.  I’M going to pay YOU so that I get to maintain control over the ONLY g-d thing in this world that TRULY belongs to me, during my life and beyond the grave?  I’m going to hand over wads of cash so that I get to continue being me instead of some lowlife immoral F#$% being me?”

Only I’m a lot angrier about it in private.

The idea that I would have to fight to re-establish the fact that I am me and that I have only done the things that I have really done, only bought the things I’ve bought… this conflict strikes me as fundamentally absurd.  I’m not denying that it happens, or that the threat is real.  I am sickened by the fact that we all carry on every day even though it happens, that many of us choose to submit to insurance sharks, that an authority figure in the police station would recommend that we pay to protect ourselves, INSTEAD OF TURNING THE SYSTEM UPSIDE DOWN SO THAT THERE IS JUSTICE.

Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.

I don’t have a whole lot in this world.  I have my kids, and they are the greatest thing I will ever have, but I don’t truly possess them because ultimately they are their own individual selves who will grow up to steer their own destinies.  Someday when they are big something will “steal” them from me, whether it is a spouse or a career or their own kids, and that’s how it should be.

I own some cool toys, like a computer and a van and a few shelves full of books, but I recognize that all the physical stuff is ephemeral and I have to enjoy it while I can because it could disappear at any moment, and anyway, I can’t bring it along.

All I really have is my reputation, my integrity, my identity.  How have we evolved a system in which it is possible for this basic unit of selfhood to be stolen?  And how is it that we allow it to be so inhumanly difficult for someone who has done nothing wrong to prove that they are actually the victim?  

And how can we allow people to PROFIT off of this absurd situation?

“Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry.
How can I go on, dear, without you?
You took the part that once was my heart,
So why not take all of me?”

But leave my ID alone, thanks all the same.

8 Comments

Filed under society

8 responses to “Identity crisis

  1. I had this exact discussion the other night (no, not about bludgeoning someone with a rock. We have that meeting every other week). Getting insurance so credit card companies don’t have to give anything more than lip service about protecting your identity.

    It’s happened to people I know and they still have bill collectors call them over debt that’s not theirs and other companies give them crap over things. I’m not even going to talk about their credit rating.

    One persons lawyer (yes, they had to hire one) said what they count on is the amount owed (or settled to) is less than the amount it would take to sue.

    Nice, huh?

  2. Joy

    Your posts always make me really stop and think. Another great one. It is sad isn’t it though that someone can take “you” away? The thought is very unsettling indeed.

    BTW, love to have the info about the “bumpy rock!” I’m just saying, you never know! LOL!

  3. Here’s another for you: if you have to leave behind bodily fluids at the scene of the crime, make it tears, because unlike spit and blood and other blechy substances, it does not contain your DNA.

    Plus maybe you can prove remorse should you ever get caught…

    Just another handy tip from the local police! 😉

  4. You’d love some of the conversations I’ve had! I have many friends in law enforcement and, of course, they all think they have great stories. Some weird stuff, let me tell you. Once a guy was telling me something outside his house because he didn’t want his family to know.

    Suddenly, there’s a sound, he spins around and draws his gun. It was nothing, wind through the trees. He turns around and says,

    “What I’m telling you could get me killed!”

    “You’re worried and you have a gun? Am I sure I need this information?”

    Then there are the times I have to go to experts. I was talking to a brain surgeon about the effects of a very specific type of trauma; so many discussions with gun and strong arm people; one day I was in the middle of a rather lengthy conversation about poisons and started laughing because if anyone ever recorded my phone calls that alone would get a surveillance team on me.

    Then I go home and what’s on the TV? As my girlfriend calls it, the death channel. She loves the death channels. Her favorite now that Court TV has gone soft is ID (Investigative Discovery).

    The only time she cares about my work is when I have meeting with cops or criminals. Oh yeah, then she doesn’t think I’m an idiot.

  5. Bound and gags… thanks for not revealing any “I could tell you this but then I’d have to kill you” details. I don’t think my paranoid little self could take it! :/

  6. No need to thank me. I know these people. They have guns.

    You don’t know how many times I’ve had to say, “No, I don’t need the name. Aw, geez! You had to tell me!”

    Or at the end of a sentence that goes sort of like this, “Remember that guy I told you about who did that thing? He’s right there!”

    Asked them to please stop pointing.

  7. stacybuckeye

    Tears don’t have DNA? Interesting. That sounds like a fun group to be a part of. I wonder if we have something like that here?

    I agree with your post and will say there is nothing quite like the feeling when a policeman calls to tell you that your name and social security number has been found in a house they just raided. This happened to me last winter and when I asked him what steps I should take? Get identity protection insurance after checking my credit report. I spent the next week looking over my shoulder, feeling like I was being shadowed or something. For our own peace of mind we did decide to pay one of our credit cards to keep an eye on things and they are pretty on top of things. We were going to keep it for 6 months and I realize now that it’s been a little over that.

    Your post has made me angry all over again 🙂

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